Unique 2000GT models
The 2000GT has a couple of unique models that would be some car collectors' dream, namely, as most may first think of when the 2000GT is mentioned, the 2000GT Open-Top, as featured in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, in which, the Bond Girl Aki is the only one to drive the car, which we reckon Sean Connery was rather jealous about. Only two of these open-top models were made, with adaptations made to fit Sean Connery due to the Japanese car market at the time not being too suited to 6'2 Englishmen as his head stuck out of the top of the car, leading to the removal of the roof and rear side windows. This resulted in the now-famous Open-top models.
Not as well known, but equally rare, are the three models of 2000GT made by Carrol Shelby to compete in the 1968 SCCA production car races. there are only 2 that are owned publicly, as the third resides with Toyota, rebuilt as a replica of their record car.
History of the Toyota 2000GT
In the late 1950s coming up to the early 1960s Japan's population was seeing an increase in car ownership, thanks largely in part to the Toyota Publica and other cars produced in the '60s following Japan's "national car" concept, which was a concept for highly affordable and efficient cars to be produced for the typical working-class family.
As more people were buying cars and coming into showrooms, Toyota realised most global manufacturers would have a top of the line sports car or grand touring coupe on display that would draw in customers to showrooms and dealerships, which would end up driving sales of their standard models. Toyota had the Sports 800 already as their trademark Sports Car of the day, but it didn't stand up to the fantastic European sports cars being produced at the same time, due to its smaller engine, which didn't make it much of a contender to something like a DB4 or 250 GT Coupé.
Yamaha at this point was often collaborating with other Japanese manufacturers on contract, this included Nissan, with whom, they posed their YX30 sports car model, with which they went as far as making a prototype, until Nissan backed out, and instead released their Silvia Coupe in 1965. Following this, Yamaha pitched the design to Toyota, who accepted, but would instead utilize a design from their designer, named Satoru Nozaki.
The end design of the 2000GT ended up drawing a lot of inspiration from the Jaguar E Type, and many other '60s Gran Turismo aesthetics featuring a similarly sleek, flowing bodywork that was a staple of the period. The engine was a longitudinal straight-six that was based on the Toyota Crown sedan, with some modifications from Yamaha, namely, new 40 PHH Carburetors, and a dual-overhead-camshaft head.